RHS Flower Show Tatton Park was all about anniversaries in 2018. We not only celebrated our 20th flower show at Tatton Park, but it was also the 10th anniversary of the ground-breaking RHS Young Designer Competition. This competition has brought some of the finest gardens to the show and also launched some incredible careers.
Along with the Young Designers, there were gardens galore, theatres aplenty and pot-fulls of plants at Tatton Park to inspire visitors to make the most of their garden over summer.
Here, we round-up some of the highlights from the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2018.
Stars of the future featured in the Young Designer competition
The 2018 candidates for the Young Designer went all out in this life-changing competition that saw them tasked with creating their own show garden. The theme for the gardens was 'Feel Good', with the focus being on the positive effects that a garden can have.
►All awards and medals
A field of sunshine dazzled
Visitors to the show felt the power of flowers by immersing themselves in our Sunshine Field. A display of 5,000 dazzling yellow daisies Rudbeckia hirta 'Prairie Sun' were arranged in the shape of a huge daisy flower – much to the delight of visitors and pollinating insects alike.
This stunning visual spectacle was fully immersive, providing an amazing photo opportunity with the sun-kissed plants.
The Poisonous Garden inspired and educated
This RHS feature took visitors on a journey to the darker side of plants, discovering both their deadly side and their healing powers. Unlike most gardens where planting schemes are devised using visual appeal, designer Michael McGarr from Warnes McGarr & Co divided the garden into four areas – Deadly Meadow, Hungry Plants, Defence and Apothecary – grouping together plants with similar properties.
Five established Agave salmiana var. ferox, aged between 15-20 years old and originally grown in Spain, were highlights of the Defence section where plants like roses, cactus and holly were chosen due to the fact they thrive in their naturally harsh environments.
Health-boosting plants and those with an antidote to some poisons appeared in the Apothecary section. Visitors saw fennel, dock and Ginkgo here. Hungry pitcher plants – deadly to the insects they lure – starred in the Hungry Plant section, while the Deadly Meadow was packed with some surprising entries, including relatively common garden plants such as Daphne and Euonymous.
Take-home ideas from the Back to Back gardens
Always popular, the Back to Back Gardens are renowned for being packed with take-home tips for visitors - and the 2018 gardens didn't dissapoint.
Each of the eight jewel-like gardens (contained in just 6m x 4m) illustrated what's possible in a tiny plot of land. From formal and quintessentially English traditional spaces to a contemporary Manchester garden complete with an extraordinary painted backdrop, there were ideas here to inspire every gardener.
Flowers galore in the Floral Marquee
Filled with nurseries from around the UK, exhibiting plants at the peak of their summer interest, the marquee made a vibrant and inspiring centrepiece to the show. To celebrate Tatton Park’s 20th birthday, 20 loyal exhibitors who have supported the show since its launch were highlighted. This included Roualeyn Fuchsias (pictured), which was chosen as Tatton Park's RHS Master Grower.
From tree ferns to cacti, dazzling hydrangeas to diminutive alpines, every kind of plant (including herbs and other edibles) could be found in the marquee. This was the place to come for plants to reinvigorate exhausted beds and containers, or flowers to grace the garden, conservatory or windowsill.
►Browse ten terrific plants to brighten late summer borders
Dazzling displays in the Plant Village
The Plant Village was the place to go for a tempting and diverse range of choice, colourful plants. Located in two sites on the showground, the nurseries on display offered new introductions and established garden favourites that were perfect for adding late summer interest to every garden.
In the National Plant Societies and Plant Heritage Marquee, displays of fascinating plant collections were put together by specialist groups. Miniature orchids, alpines from the world and firework-like chrysanthemums sat alongside more familiar cottage garden plants, hardy plants, creatively-arranged vegetables and highly-scented sweet peas.
Bees buzzed in The Bee Hive
The Bee Hive featured a talks theatre housed inside a large dome that hosted workshops and demonstrations throughout the show. Visitors found out how to make their own wildflower seed balls, identify different bees, and start beekeeping, with advice from the British Beekeepers Association.
The outside of the dome was just as buzzing too. Live hives and take-home ideas for attracting bees to the garden all featured here. The colourful pollinator beds just outside of the dome were packed with plants such as Verbena bonariensis, Rudbeckia, Salvia and Monardas.
A journey along Bus Stop Boulevard
Visitors to the show took a stroll along the Bus Stop Boulevard in 2018 to see four bespoke bus stops bursting with plants and gardening inspiration. Take-home ideas included the hanging hexagon-shaped planters of The Buzz Stop, while the colourful butterflies and tropical plants of Jungle is Massive stopped visitors in their tracks.
All four were out to impress, with visitors encouraged to put their judging hat on and vote for their favourite. It was a close call, but in the end Jungle is Massive, designed by Cabasa Carnival Arts was crowned the winner.
Grow-your-own ideas and experts aplenty
For those keen to grow their own fruit and veg, but unsure how to start, the Discover and Grow Marquee offered tips from the experts, with a range of produce inspiration on show.
Along with a host of exhibitors, including Newlands Nursery and Pennard Plants, there were daily talks from celebrity chefs, specialist nurseries and expert authors, providing visitors with plenty of take-home inspiration to get started on their own patch.
Small-space ideas from the Blooming Borders
The Blooming Borders and Flower Power Beds were a hotbed of gardening ideas for small spaces, generated by collaborations of gardeners from across the country. From miniature green roofs atop brightly painted beehives to the use of carefully conceived ornaments and structures that help plantings to shine, there was inspiration aplenty.
►Discover take-home tips for brilliant borders
Cows took centre stage in the Rock 'n' Roll Herd of Fame
Located to the side of the Feast Theatre, visitors could find a small herd of artisan blacksmith-crafted cattle. Each animal wore a different coat, including one of silver and rusted chains reminiscent of a highland cattle's shaggy coat.
Alongside this chap were funky-coloured and paint-splattered versions, as well as one vast cow crafted from metal leaves and another from glittery strands of metal. Visitors could become one of the herd by taking a picture with this fab installation.
Artist-inspired School Gardens seen at The Green Fields
Visiting families made their way to The Green Fields, the area of the showground devoted entirely to entertaining and educating. Here, a host of artist-inspired School Gardens were on show, surrounded by activities that appealed to all ages.
For the School Garden Competition, children from 19 schools took inspiration from well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Claude Monet for their gardens. With pebbles painted as bees, planters made from recycled milk cartons and paving that uses bottles, there were a wealth of ideas that the children created to delight visitors.
Congratulations to St Catherine's CE School for their winning garden that was inspired by Evelyn Dunbar.
Lessons in The Flower School
There were photo opportunities galore in The Flower School as the RHS invited visitors to vote for their favourite Flower Tower, with Flourish Manchester winning this year. Each of the nine towers had been skillfully decorated by local students, designers, businesses and communities using cut flowers and everything else from fir cones to origami butterflies.
Themes ranged from a celebration of 20 years of the Tatton Park show through to forests and lost gardens, but they all offered a different perspective on the art of floristry.
A hub of activities and interactive workshops also featured in The Flower School, and visitors were able to plant up their own fashionable terrarium or create a beautiful flower crown to take home.